The Enduring Ark

Gita Wolf, illus. by Joydeb Chitrakar. Tara (PGW, dist.), $21.95 (34p) ISBN 978-93-80340-18-0
“You may have heard this story before,” writes Wolf (The Very Hungry Lion) in the opening of this inspired retelling of Noah’s Ark, “but great tales deserve to be repeated—and so let me tell it here again, in my way.” Chitrakar’s (Tsunami) visual approach is based on West Bengal Patua scroll painting, an accordion-style format that allows this epic story to literally unfold for readers. The stunning illustrations—which really constitute one continual image—reflect an openhearted, instantly accessible folk art aesthetic, with flattened perspectives, naïve characterizations, and highly stylized depictions of nature. There is much to love: the traditional Indian garb of Noah and his wife Na’mah; the comic earnestness of the animals; the ark itself, with its templelike architecture and implacable bird figureheads at bow and stern; and even the destructive floodwaters, depicted as roiling lines of deep blue, black, and silvery white, which spring from the eyes of a saddened deity. Chitrakar and Wolf, who writes with customary elegance, have created an essential addition to any library, and a glorious example of storytelling’s universality. Ages 6–up. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/15/2013
Release date: 05/01/2013
Genre: Children's
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